how do i spy on tweenage style?
August 24, 2006 11:11 AM   Subscribe

bizarre consulting question. a friend of mine in a creative field has decided i'm the most fashionable person he knows. despite the fact that i'm a lawyer and have no children, he wants me to find out how a hip, cutting-edge tweenie girl would dress. aside from lurking around outside the local middle school (and reading your standard tween rags), what can i do to gather the necessary data?

he's asked me not to divulge any other information about the porject, beyond hip, cutting edge, american tween girl. not girly, but not necessarily eschewing the onset of femininity either. no particular region. anything is useful: accutrement, accessories, style, heroes of the tween age.

the closest kid in my life, alas, does not fit the bill (too young, too rural).
posted by crush-onastick to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:17 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Talk to the buyers at the B.P. department at Nordstrom - they should be able to tell you what's upcoming and what's now. There used to be some based at the Tysons Corner location in Virginia, that's for the East Coast region, I'm not sure if they've all been recalled to Seattle or not.
posted by KAS at 11:17 AM on August 24, 2006

A Target catalog would be a good place to start. My girl is 11, in an inner-suburb, relatively hip milieu, and she loves that place.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:26 AM on August 24, 2006
posted by MsMolly at 11:26 AM on August 24, 2006

nothing personal crush, but the fact that you are hip is going to bear little or no resemblance to what's hip in the tween market, though it's nice ofr you to help your friend out. Your friend should go read the book Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers [my review] and look into some of the companies that are doing research into tween style. Checking out places where youngish kids gather online -- MySpace, LiveJournal, SecondLife -- might help some.
posted by jessamyn at 11:29 AM on August 24, 2006

right, jess, that's just about what i thought, but that book looks like a step in the right direction for the kind of things he wants to know. thanks.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:34 AM on August 24, 2006

You might dig something up on the fashion board.
posted by leapingsheep at 11:40 AM on August 24, 2006

Just go buy Seventeen and whatever teen magazines that have not yet gone away (I miss ElleGirl.)
posted by clairezulkey at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2006

bizarre is correct. he should contact a marketing research firm. there are bazillions out there. 'girls intelligence agency' is one I worked with once, they are relatively small and in los angeles.

I won't even start talking about all the alarm bells ringing here...
posted by krautland at 12:25 PM on August 24, 2006

Just go buy Seventeen and whatever teen magazines that have not yet gone away (I miss ElleGirl.)

Seconded. They're basically catalogs anyway, nowadays. Circle whatever's appropriate for her age and head down to the mall.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:34 PM on August 24, 2006

Watch the Disney Channel and Teen Nick.
posted by headspace at 12:59 PM on August 24, 2006

This is an easy one.

1. Go to anchor store in nearby mall.

2. Hit the noisiest department you can find.

3. Any clothes you don't understand are what you're looking for.

4. Profit!
posted by ImJustRick at 1:39 PM on August 24, 2006

Actually, would the mall be a good place to just look at actual girls and see what they're wearing?

Please bear in mind, too, that they're _not_ all alike.
posted by amtho at 2:21 PM on August 24, 2006

Second on headspace's recommendation for Disney Channel and Teen Nick -- be sure to look for the shows "Hannah Montana," "Unfabulous," "That's So Raven," "Zoey 101," all of which are wildly popular with the tween set right now and all have a high school setting.

The movie "Cheetah Girls 2" premieres on Disney tomorrow night and has been wildly hyped, and will likely have lots of good teen fashion; if you can TiVo "High School Musical," you'll get the same effect.

Current girl heroes of the tween set are Raven-Symone, Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Aly & AJ... Hilary Duff and Lindsey Lohan are out, as are the Olsen twins.

Go to the stores or websites of Limited Too, Children's Place. Limited Too windows are great snapshots of what's hot in tween fashion right now. Stores where girls can afford to shop for themselves (like Claire's Boutique), are a good place to see who's wearing what.

Check out a book called "The Great Tween Buying Machine: Marketing to Today's Tweens".

Keep in mind that high school girls want to dress like college girls, middle school girls want to dress like high school girls, and the fourth- and fifth-graders want to dress like middle schoolers. Witness: the shows popular with 11- to 13-year-olds aren't actually about 11- to 13-year-olds, but about actual teenagers.

So, without knowing what your friend's project is, it might be helpful to remember that girls look one school up for fashion muse.

And, then, please hand me a gun to put myself out of the misery of using the word "tween" so many times non-ironically....
posted by pineapple at 2:33 PM on August 24, 2006

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